Fencer Despina Georgiadou won the gold medal for Greece at the Women’s Grand Prix of the International Fencing Federation (FFI) that was held in Tunis over the weekend.
The Greek champion defeated Spanish Lucia Martin-Portugues in the final 15-12 and has kept her hopes for qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games alive.
“What a day to remember with so many beautiful, happy and strong feelings,” Georgiadou wrote on Instagram after winning gold. “A huge thank you to everyone that was with me this day and contributed to this victory !! They all [played] a huge part in guiding me until the end.”
Στο πιο ψηλό σκαλί του βάθρου ανέβηκε η Δέσποινα Γεωργιάδου στο Γκραν Πρι σπάθης γυναικών στην Τύνιδα 🤺. Η Γεωργιάδου νίκησε στον τελικό την Ισπανίδα Λουθία Μαρτίν-Πορτουγκές με 15-12 και κατέκτησε το 🥇. Μπράβο Δέσποινα#gold#TeamHellas#fencing#RoadtoParis2024 pic.twitter.com/cLUTMDuVZ0
— Ηellenic Olympic Committee (@HellenicOlympic) January 15, 2023
Second consecutive medal for fencer Despina Georgiadou
This was the second consecutive medal of the Greek fencer in an FFI grand prix after the bronze in Orleans in December 2022.
The 2023 Tunis Men’s and Women’s Sabre Grand Prix took place at the Sports Hall of Radès with 140 men and 141 women participating in the competition.
In the final bout of women’s individual sabre, Georgiadou faced Spain’s Lucia Martin-Portugues, winning with a 15-12 score. Martin-Portugues beat Ukraine’s four-time world champion, Olga Kharlan in the semifinals 15-14 while Georgiadou defeated Japan’s world champion, Misaki Emura, 15-10.
Final rankings in women’s sabre included Despina Georgiadou (GRE, gold), Lucia Martin-Portugues (ESP, silver), Olga Kharlan (UKR, bronze), Misaki Emura (JPN, bronze), Manon Apithy-Brunet (FRA), Sara Balzer (FRA), Araceli Navarro (ESP), and Anna Marton (HUN).
Despina Georgiadou began fencing in 2003
Despina Georgiadou began fencing in 2003. She was asked recently why she took up this particular sport.
“I got to know fencing through the modern pentathlon in 2003,” she explained. “I had tried many sports before fencing and what drew me to it was that it is a demanding sport, both physically and mentally. This combination made me feel complete and made my daily training really interesting.”
She tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2021 and had to withdraw from the 2021 World Cup event in Budapest, Hungary, where she had been aiming to secure qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games.
She was hospitalized due to the effects of the virus and missed two months of training after experiencing an elevated heart rate and breathing difficulties.
“I stayed in Hungary for a whole month, because after I was discharged I had to stay in the quarantine hotel for another week,” she revealed. “When I came back to training things were probably even harder, I was afraid I might never be able to come back again.”
“I had tachycardia [a high heart rate] and difficulty breathing,” she said. “My doctors had banned any sports activity for a month. All of this was really scary for me and my loved ones, who were by my side in any way they could.”